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Sunday, 14 December 2014

‘One Kick’ by Chelsea Cain

Published by Simon & Schuster,
14 August 2914.
ISBN: 978-1471130663

Two missing children, and the enigmatic Bishop forces former abductee Kick out of her self-imposed seclusion to see if she can help him to find them.

This fast-moving story is swept along by the extraordinary heroine. Kick was kidnapped at the age of six, rescued at the age of twelve, and her story from that time is told in flashback – movingly, convincingly, and without purience. Therapy didn’t help Kick, but learning self-defence did – she’s never knowingly underarmed. She also carries a worry book (where she writes things down to worry about later), and her ambivalent relationship with her kidnapper is believably drawn. She has a hair trigger temper when she feels threatened, and much of the book includes her running duel with Bishop, who dares to out-smart her. Their relationship adds humour to what could otherwise be a grim story of child abuse. In short, Kick is a fascinating individual whose every action tells you more about her damaged psyche, and you’re on her side all the way. Other characters are equally vivid: Bishop, who is as much his own person as Kick is, Kick’s equally damaged friend, James, who escapes into his computers, and Kick’s truly appalling mother, who has made a career out of being a celebrity abductee’s mother. The plot is fast-moving, and the characterisation of Kick gives depth and seriousness to the use of child abduction and child pornography as subjects for entertainment. It has a gripping final confrontation, and a satisfying ending.

If you like smart, quirky characters and plenty of action, I recommend this one very highly.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Chelsea Cain  Journalism, that was my college goal at the University of California, at Irvine. I also went to graduate school in journalism at the University of Iowa where I wrote a column for The Daily Iowan. But there was one thing about journalism that Chelsea says she didn’t like at all: talking to strangers. Writing books, on the other hand, requires talking to far fewer people. And Iowa City, home of the lauded Iowa Writers Workshop, was full of people writing books. Then she moved from Iowa to Portland to New York and back to Portland with brief stays in Florida and Pennsylvania, and in the process wrote a dozen books over the next ten years, but not all were published.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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